Harden’s career-high 61 points leads Rockets by Knicks
NEW YORK (AP) — James Harden scored a career-high 61 points, tying Kobe Bryant’s record for a visiting opponent at the current Madison Square Garden, and the Houston Rockets edged the New York Knicks 114-110 on Wednesday night.
Harden made the clinching layup with 3.8 seconds remaining after the Knicks turned it over, capping his fifth 50-point game this season and a wild stretch of back-and-forth basketball across the final minutes.
Eric Gordon made the go-ahead 3-pointer with 9.8 seconds left when Houston couldn’t get the ball to Harden, the NBA’s leading scorer who earlier had passed Wilt Chamberlain into fourth place in NBA history with his 21st consecutive 30-point game.
Harden finished 17 of 38 from the floor. He was only 5 of 20 on 3-pointers but was 22 of 25 from the line and grabbed 15 rebounds.
Carmelo Anthony holds the overall record at the current MSG with 62 points.
Rookie Allonzo Trier scored a season-high 31 points for the Knicks, who lost their seventh straight game. They lost coach David Fizdale when he picked up his second technical foul and was ejected with 1:08 remaining.
The Rockets led by 10 after three, but the Knicks quickly cut into it when Harden was on the bench. New York eventually took a couple late leads but couldn’t hold on, losing for the 15th time in 16 games.
Chamberlain still has all three 30-point streaks that were longer. His record is 65 straight, and he also had streaks of 31 and 25 games.
Pacers 110, Raptors 106
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Victor Oladipo suffered a serious right knee injury that could alter the season for the Indiana Pacers, who beat the Toronto Raptors 110-106 on Wednesday night.
The All-Star guard crumpled to the ground with 4:05 left in the second quarter as he tried to defend an outlet pass to Toronto’s Pascal Siakam.
The magnitude of the injury was apparent almost immediately. Trainers draped a towel over the leg, and players from both teams surrounded Oladipo as he remained down. No replays were shown on the video screen that stretches from free-throw line to free-throw line.
Fans began chanting his name and gave him a standing ovation as he was carted off on a stretcher. Team officials later said Oladipo was scheduled to have an MRI on Thursday.
Thaddeus Young had 23 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Pacers on Wednesday. Collison added 16 points as Indiana won its third straight and snapped a five-game losing streak to the Raptors.
Toronto was led by Serge Ibaka with 23 points and 11 rebounds and Kyle Lowry with 20 points. The Raptors again played without Kawhi Leonard, O.G. Anunoby or Jonas Valanciunas.
Celtics 125, Cavaliers 103
BOSTON (AP) — Terry Rozier scored 22 of his 26 points in the first half and the Boston Celtics coasted to their fifth straight victory with a 125-103 win over the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night.
Jaylen Brown scored 23 points, Gordon Hayward 18 and Jayson Tatum 17 for Boston, which won its 10th straight at home. Rozier, who added eight rebounds and six assists, started in place of the ill Kyrie Irving and shot 6 for 6 and scored 16 points in the opening quarter. He made his only two shots in the second — both 3-pointers — including a 31-foot buzzer-beater from the top of the key that gave Boston a 65-50 halftime lead.
Irving was sidelined with flulike symptoms, and Boston was also without Al Horford, who was given the night off to rest. Horford had missed seven games in December with a sore left knee before they built his minutes back up.
Cedi Osman led the Cavaliers with 25 points and eight rebounds, and Ante Zizic had 19 points with eight boards. Cleveland has lost five in a row and 17 of its last 18.
Clippers 111, Heat 99
MIAMI (AP) — Tobias Harris scored 22 of his 31 points in the first half, and the Los Angeles Clippers clamped down on defense after intermission to beat the Miami Heat 111-99 on Wednesday night.
Montrezl Harrell scored 14 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter for the Clippers, who outscored Miami 44-26 in the first 20 minutes of the second half. Lou Williams added 13 points and Avery Bradley scored 12.
Harris also had seven rebounds and six assists for the Clippers.
Hassan Whiteside finished with 22 points and 16 rebounds for Miami. Josh Richardson scored 17, Tyler Johnson added 15 and Dwyane Wade scored 13 for the Heat.
Wade has scored at least 13 points by halftime four times this season — twice against the Clippers. But he went scoreless after the break, and the rest of his teammates didn’t exactly fare much better in the final two quarters.
The teams were tied at 54 at the half, both shooting exactly 50 percent and pinballing their way through six lead changes and seven ties.
The first time the Clippers had more than a one-possession lead was midway through the third, when a short jumper by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander put them up by five. Los Angeles held Miami to 18 points in the third, and opened up a 98-80 lead with 4:30 left — the cue for most fans to head to the exits.
Hawks 121, Bulls 101
CHICAGO (AP) — John Collins scored a career-high 35 points, Trae Young had 12 assists and the Atlanta Hawks beat the Chicago Bulls 121-101 on Wednesday night.
Collins was 14 for 16 from the field as Atlanta kicked off a season-high, seven-game road trip with its first victory against Chicago in two years, stopping a five-game slide against the Bulls. Jeremy Lin, Young’s backup, had 15 points, and Dewayne Dedmon finished with 14.
Chicago lost for the 11th time in its last 12 games. Zach LaVine scored 23 points, and Lauri Markkanen had 22 in the opener of a three-game homestand.
The Bulls trimmed a 20-point deficit all the way down to six when Markkanen made a 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer. But the Hawks pulled away with an 11-1 run at the end of the third quarter.
Lin had seven points in the spurt, including a 3-pointer that lifted Atlanta to a 98-83 lead heading into the final period. Young, who finished with 5 points on 1-for-12 shooting, also made a 3 with 1:14 left.
Taurean Prince also had 15 points for Atlanta, which had dropped three of four. Alex Len finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds.